ASTORIA — A portion of one of Astoria’s largest breweries collapsed over the Columbia River Tuesday evening.
Photos show the mid-section of an overwater part of the Buoy Beer Company facility fallen inward and sagging toward the Columbia River. People racing sailboats on the river reported seeing some of the dock face fall into the water and hundreds of unfilled beer cans floating with the current.
Buoy, which includes a restaurant and a brewery, had been closed that day and no one was in the building. No injuries were reported. The nearby Bowline hotel was briefly evacuated as emergency responders shut off water and gas to the building and evaluated the scene.
The Astorian reported last year that Buoy closed its kitchen after discovering issues with the dock and pilings beneath that part of the building. But the reason for the building’s partial collapse on Tuesday remains unknown.
Buoy CEO Luke Colvin says even they don’t know yet exactly which parts of the building have been damaged. For now, all brewing and restaurant operations are on hold.
“We’re just starting to pick up the pieces,” Colvin told KMUN.
In a statement, the company wrote, “We are working on plans to keep our entire team working and figure out ways to get back to brewing, as our brewhouse and fermentation facility has not been affected. Our sister companies, Pilot House Distilling and River Barrel Distribution, are also unaffected and will continue to operate as normal.
“We are humbled by the overwhelming support from our local community as well as our industry friends. We feel lucky to live and work in this place and in an industry like ours. Thank you for all your kindness while we navigate this situation.”
Astoria City Manager Brett Estes said building officials and inspectors examined the structure Tuesday night.
“They were able to go into the building and do some initial observations,” he said. “The building has been posted as ‘do not occupy’ at this point in time.”
No one knows yet what the building collapse means for Buoy longterm. The brewery has been expanding steadily over the years in response to growing demand.
Last year, Buoy replaced its 20-barrel brewing system with a 50-barrel system and added fermentation and conditioning tanks.
The Oregonian reported that the company hoped to double its production by 2024.